Deacon Speakin’ repeats in the Portland Mile | Horse Racing

Deacon Speakin’ became just the second horse in Portland Mile history to win the race back to back, as he stormed home to an impressive three quarter length victory in the $35,000 Portland Mile on Monday.  He joins Tall Ben who won the race in 1971 and 1972 as the only two time winners.  Sent off as the 4/1 second choice, Deacon Speakin’ broke from the outside gate under leading jockey Luis Torres.

Deacon Speakin’ sat back in the early going as See Ya Later Slew set a torrid pace of 22.80 for the opening quarter and 46.41 for the half mile.  Torres kept Deacon Speakin’ in the clear as they went to the far turn and decided to go outside of the tiring pace setters.

Meanwhile, favored When We Met took the shortest way home, going to the inside and setting up a stretch battle with Deacon Speakin’.  Deacon Speakin’ got first run and came into the stretch with the lead and When We Met just couldn’t push past him in the end.  The top two finishers were thirteen and a half lengths ahead of Lesson in Deceit who ran on for third.  The final time was 1:37.08 for the one mile distance.

Deacon Speakin’ ($10.00) won the 2011 Portland Mile in much the same way as this year’s running, coming from off the pace, and it’s a race his owner and breeder Paul Hagemann had kept his eye on.

“I have pointed towards this race since last year when he won it,” said Hagemann.  “He just ran nine days ago down at Golden Gate Fields and I was worried someone might claim him for the $25,000.  But they didn’t and I think it set him up well for this race.  He came up here and Steve (trainer Steve Fisher) paddocked him twice and schooled him in the gate pretty much each day since he got here a week ago, since he has some problems at the gate.”

Deacon Speakin’ loaded in with a blanket on him as he strode into the gate.  He balked at the first attempt, but went right in the second time, something trainer Steve Fisher said he was happy with.

“We wanted to make sure to get him to the paddock and the gate a lot this week,” said Fisher.  “We didn’t want to leave any stone unturned with him.”

With the win, Fisher became just the second trainer in track history to win the Portland Mile three times, the other being Jonathan Nance.  Fisher won with Deacon Speakin’ in 2011 and now 2012, and also won the race in 2001 with Chinquapin Charlie.

“I really left the trip today up to Luis, as I have full confidence in him,” said Fisher.  “He sure seems to like this sand, but from that outside draw we didn’t want to push him to fast to early.  Luis let him find his rhythm and it worked out great.”

The win was the seventh career victory for Deacon Speakin’ and pushes his earnings to up over $188,000.  Owner Paul Hagemann who bred Deacon Speakin’ spoke about the horse after the race.

“It’s like watching one of your kids or your grandkids succeed,” said Hagemann.  “I was there when this horse was born and I’m so proud of him.  Steve and Jacqui (Fisher) have just done such a wonderful job with this horse.”


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